By Sangeeta Benbow
Adult Fitness & Wellness Program Director
In these strange times, many of us are hunkering down with more time than we’re used to. In addition to keeping up with some form of exercise, this might be an opportunity to tackle that “to do” list and reconnect with ourselves, our families, and our communities. We are living with uncertainty but let’s not live in fear, even as we take precautions to remain healthy. Let us be grateful for this time and use it well!
Here are some hands-on projects that most of us have been meaning to get to:
Re-arrange and clean a room, your closets or garage, one drawer at a time. Set a goal for each day. While at it, set aside clothing, furniture and “stuff” to donate, sell, repurpose or recycle.
What are some hobbies you’ve wanted to cultivate? Are you a knitter, or do you want to be? Have you wanted to learn to do Sudoku? To play the flute? Make sushi or home-made pizza? Learn to garden, or just learn about flowers? Read every book written by Toni Morrison or Charles Dickens? Rollerblade or weave baskets? Here’s your opportunity. Online tutorials can be a great resource.
Declutter paper, clothes, and electronics. Do we really need our utility bills beyond the past 12 months or magazines from years ago? Just how many headphones can I wear at one time? Do I really need ALL these shoes? (Yes! …well, maybe it is time to give some of them away.)
What about all those other things that we WANT to do, that we know we SHOULD do? Well, now maybe we CAN do it.
Get enough and good quality sleep, which is one of the best things we can do for our health and which affects so many aspects of our lives. The majority of us don’t get enough. Aside from the obvious, it has been linked to healthy weight and heart health. ( For a full list see https://www.healthline.
Learn to cook something new! Here’s another thing we say we don’t have time for. It’s so easy to eat on the go or make the same old-same old meals. Find those recipes you’ve cut out from the newspaper or that Grandma passed along (or the cookbook you found when cleaning) and experiment with new recipes, flavors, and cuisines. Do you love Thai food when eating out? Learn to make it at home! (It may be necessary to get ingredients shipped if you’re avoiding the grocery store, but if possible, get your apron and give it a go!) https://www.allrecipes.
Find new ways to exercise. Do you usually only do cardio or yoga? Those of you who take my classes know I talk about this all the time. Diversify your workout portfolio! Now’s a great opportunity to give some other disciplines a try. We need several things for overall physical health: muscle strength, muscle endurance, cardio training, flexibility, core strength, agility, coordination, and balance. Tony and I posted ideas for bodyweight training where no equipment is necessary. Victoria will give us Pilates, Yoga, and Reiki videos. Again, there are tons of ideas online, or dig out those Tae Bo DVDs! Many of us have exercise equipment at home; let’s put it to good use. Specifically, regarding MIND/BODY, we know we need it, especially now. Here’s a link to three half-hour workouts by our own Yasmin O. from her “Mind the Body” Blog for Core and Balance work. https://www.mindthebodyatm.
We’ve all read about meditation. Everyone’s doing it, so why not me? Well, now it can be YOU. Try 6-8 minutes at a time in the morning and before bed. Sit (don’t lie) comfortably and quietly, with a deep breath, relaxed face and body and quiet mind. There are dozens of apps and hundreds of YouTube videos to guide you along the way (and some on our Blog!) Soon you’ll be wondering how you managed without it!
Go outside. We can socially distance while outside. Breathe in the fresh air (it’s even fresher now without so many cars out.) It’s a great thing to do when you want to be by yourself or to do with others. Take a walk, jog, or a hike. Ride your bike, fly a kite or just sit on your porch with a cuppa tea and enjoy the scenery
Connect with your family and community. Maybe there’s a way to help those less fortunate, who cannot get groceries or medications. Even if we may not be able to spend face to face time with people outside our immediate families, we can do something for them. By phone, check-in with people who might be lonely. Call that relative you’ve been meaning to talk to.
Buy gift cards for local restaurants and businesses to be used later when we can get back out. It’s a wonderful way to help your town’s merchants. Most restaurants are offering pick-up and delivery even if there’s no indoor dining.
Please consider, if you can, continuing to financially support service people (your nannies, dog walkers, house cleaners) even if you aren’t temporarily using their services.
Go back to the basics. Enjoy a break from our typical busy daily life. You don’t have to worry about traffic or commuting, or being on time for an appointment. You don’t have to talk to anyone you don’t want to talk to. Enjoy the extra time with loved ones, or just time with yourself.
Look inward and think forward. Why are we here? Can we do or be better when this crisis is over? How can we keep the habits we’re developing now? How do we create a world we want for our children and grandchildren?
I hope you stay happy and healthy while we adjust to our new normal.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for exercise and mind-body questions! I look forward to seeing you all soon.
In good health,